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Poppies, Suction Cup Teether Toy

Poppies Teether ToyPoppies bird

Through our product development process, our team identified an opportunity to design a new baby teether toy.

Teethers may provide many benefits to a teething child. Chewing on the teether applies pressure and pulls on the gums and teeth, which can both strengthen the gums and/or clean the teeth. This pressure may also relieve pain caused by teething and assist in the growth or development of a child’s teeth. Further, the use of a teether may provide psychological benefits by giving the child an activity that exercises his or her mouth, thereby soothing the child.

A toy may also provide benefits to a child. A toy may be used to entertain a child or provide the child with endless amounts of enjoyment. Toys may be educational, assisting a child in learning basic spatial-reasoning or more advanced skills such as language or math. A toy should be interesting to a child and provide cognitive stimulation.

Poppies bird rendering

Early rendering

Designing a New Teether Toy

Though our Discovery Journey process, we identified an opportunity to combine the properties of a teether with the properties of a toy. We were inspired by double sided suction cups. Double sided suction cup pads (Soap Savers) have been around for years and years. These pads were typically used in the shower or around the sink to hold a bar of soap. Our team decided to introduce similar pads to teething infants, and they were a hit.

InsightsPoppies snail mockup

From our research, we noticed children fell in love with the play features. Not only did the infants chew on the suction cups to relieve their teething pain, but they stuck the toy onto non-porous smooth surfaces such as tables, windows, refrigerators, bathtubs, etc. They also really enjoyed the popping sound created when the child pulled the stuck suction cup toy off a table, wall, refrigerator, etc. We also identified that the suction cup indentations were inviting to a child’s fingers and the object could be grasped in many different/unique ways. This interaction showed our team that there was an increase in physical development (child’s fine motor skills) and cognitive development (cause and effect).

Development – Identifying the Perfect Suction Cup

Our engineers created and tested several functional iterations to identify the perfect suction cup for teething. We not only wanted the suction cup to fit perfectly in a child’s mouth in order to massage the gums, but we wanted the teether to have the perfect ‘sticking’ power. The suction cup had to easily stick to a surface, and it needed to also be fun for an infant to pull off any non-porous surface. We also wanted to make sure the design would pass safety standards set by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), so we incorporated holes throughout the shape to allow air to pass through eliminating any suffocation concern. We worked with legal to protect our design and created all imagery for the utility patent.

Creating the Perfect Design

Poppies yellow star toy, final productOur design team tested several solutions of positioning the suction cups as well as teething textures. In consumer research, our team identified the most popular shapes and textures with infants. We then went through several sketch iterations to identify several simple design shapes that would be entertaining for infants, yet enjoyable for older children.